Our first stop was at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, located on the road up to Grand Teton National Park across from the Elk Refuge. The museum is perched like a castle on the hillside, with lovely area-specific landscaping and an outdoors sculpture garden. Inside, there are more than 550 artists represented by over 5,000 artworks, including a huge collection by Carl Rungius. It's a lovely little museum - made extra entertaining by the crazy lady who was muttering to herself about how the painting placement offended her - and we spent over an hour and a half there.
Bison sculpture overlooking elk refuge
Next we drove out along the eastern portion of the GTNP, Antelope Flats, to Mormon Row where twenty-seven Mormon homesteaders settled in the 1890s. Several of the structures are still standing, including the most photographed barn on the planet, as well as a pink stucco house and a lovely little log cabin with a front porch. We continued in a loop around Antelope Flats, having to pause for a few moments until a young bison decided to move off the road and back to the large herd where he belonged.
The Moulton Barn
As rain sprinkled us, we did a scenic drive up to Signal Mountain, which gave us a view of the other side of the valley, then continued north, intending to do a short hike along the Snake River. The rain kept up, however, so we kept driving north, just crossing over into Yellowstone National Park to a picnic area near the south gate where we had a couple of beers and watched a huge thunderstorm move through. We even got hailed on for 30 seconds or so but the storm was moving quickly east and didn't last long.
Right before the thunder, lightning and hail
Since all the really good stuff in Yellowstone was over an hour and a half away, we headed south back to Jackson. After we got cleaned up, we got a dinner recommendation from the front desk and walked to Thai Me Up for dinner. Thai Me Up has been around since 2000 and is a nano-brewery in addition to being a funky Thai restaurant. We sat out on the porch and although the service wasn't stellar, the beer and food was. They had about six of their own beers on tap (mostly IPAs) and the ones we had (I don't remember their names but they were brewed with Yakima hops) were very good. We shared an order of spring rolls; H had pad kee mow, a/k/a drunken noodle, with chicken; and I had kang kwio wan, a/k/a green curry, with chicken. The food was absolutely fantastic - I cleaned my bowl and if I could have licked it clean, I would have. Delicious. They also had some funky house cocktails. I wanted a Lemongrasshopper (gin and tonic with lemongrass and Thai basil) but they were out for some reason, so I went with a Mosquito instead (mojito made with vodka and Thai basil - a little bland for my palate but definitely refreshing). When we go back to Jackson, we'll go back to Thai Me Up for sure.
Grrr! (we didn't actually see any bears)
After dinner we went back to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, mostly because I wanted to try a "44 and soda" which we'd been told about on our visit the night before: 44North Mountain Huckleberry Vodka (from Idaho) and soda. It was okay, a little too sweet even when mixed with just soda, but it's good to try new things. We watched some tourists play pool for a while, then called it a night and went back to the motel.